Wildland/Urban Interface Fires

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Wildland/Urban Interface fires are a huge cause of loss in the United States every year, damaging or destroying forests, buildings, businesses, and even taking lives. Most wildland fires are preventable, originating with man’s negligence or lack of care, while some are non-preventable, originating from lightning strikes or other natural occurrences. Whatever the cause, Ys who have property on forested lands can do much to control the spread of wildfire and to reduce the loss potential to their staff and assets.

A YMCA can do many things to reduce the likelihood of its camp or other exposed property from being damaged or destroyed by wildfire. If the property is located in an area experiencing a drought or an extreme dry spell, extra precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of wildfire.

Some actions to consider:

  • Request a visit from your local forest service on an annual basis to evaluate the property and to provide guidance in reducing or eliminating the spread of wildfires on your property.
  • Have a arborist visit your camp site(s) to provide guidance on the removal of vegetation
  • Provide your local fire department with a tour of your property prior to your annual start. Show them the location of major buildings, cabins, etc., as well as where any lakes or ponds are found. Give them a map of the camp to assist them in understanding and negotiating its layout. Practice drills with the local fire department
  • Explain to your personnel the dangers and precautions associated with high hazard areas like chemi¬cal or combustible / flammable liquids storage, cooking areas, etc. should be so noted to all person¬nel. These materials should be stored in flammable/combustible liquid storage cabinets, acid cabi¬nets, etc.
  • Restrict the use of outdoor fires and strictly enforce your no smoking policies during drought condi¬tions. Also restrict the use of small tools with internal combustion engines like weed-eaters, chain saws, etc. Strictly obey local, state, and federal guidelines concerning campfire use. Install chimney caps on all wood burning fireplaces
  • Read and apply the information found in Wildfires and the accompanying form Wildfire Risk and Hazard Assessment Checklist, available on our web site. They provide greater detail and tips on how to prevent or reduce loss from this potentially devastating enemy.

Please call us at 800-463-8546 to discuss this or any other risk management safety tip, or visit our web site at www.redwoodsgroup.com to learn more about YMCA risk management issues.

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